Big News! Mobile Ballet Eastern Shore has moved to a new location on Equity Drive in Daphne, Alabama. After years of renting, the dance school has purchased and expanded to a much larger space, with three studios, an area for dressing rooms, and offices. 

They now can accommodate full rehearsals for the professional dance company, Mobile Ballet, for which the school is affiliated. Amanda Napper, manager of development & communications, tells me that half of the company members live in Baldwin County, so this newly upgraded facility is exactly what they have been needing. 

Mobile Ballet will perform the classic ballet, Sleeping Beauty, on March 23 and 24th at the Mobile Civic Center Theater, under the leadership of Katia Garza, artistic director.  Because the new location on the Eastern Shore wants to become more involved in the community, they are hosting a ‘Sleeping BeauTea’, a fairytale tea party, with tea, treats,  performances, a storytime, and photo ops with the dancers, all to raise funds for their Releve` Project. (for all you non-dancers out there, Releve` means “ to rise”.) 

This event will take place on March 10th from 2 to 4 PM and funds will provide tuition assistance for young dancers in the area and raise the barre (ballet barre, not a drinking bar) for their arts education.  Amanda also explains that the school wants to offer more community programs, by hosting summer dance programs

At the Mobile studio, a program called “Day Of Dance'' brings in groups from the Dumas Wesley Center and Boys and Girls Clubs to enrich lives through a day of dance and the new Eastern Shore location’s size will enable them to create similar programs. 

The director of the Mobile Ballet Eastern Shore, Kimberley Sears, has been a faculty member for 18 years but began her new position in 2020. Kimberly grew up in Lancashire in the United Kingdom and at 11 years old, went to London to study at the Royal Ballet School

At 16, she joined the Northern Ballet, which is the UK’s foremost narrative ballet company. There, she danced in many of the classic ballets; Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Nutcracker, and more. She then moved into Musical Theater performances and eventually auditioned and was hired to perform on Cruise Ships. “My favorite line was Princess Cruises because they had incredible costumes and wonderful performances. I also met my husband, Tim, on the ship.” Kimberly said.  

Her husband's work brought them to Saint Louis, Missouri and she auditioned for The Muny, a well-respected Broadway theater company in Forest Park, Mo. She did two tours with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Crazy  For You. ”To succeed in dance, you have to be versatile. I had to learn jazz and tap, as well as ballet. To this day, I tell my students to learn as many genres as possible.” 

Tim’s job moved them around a lot and soon she had two children. When he was transferred to Mobile, 22 years ago, they settled in Fairhope, and with a 2 and a 4-year-old, being a stay-at-home mom was her plan. One day, her husband who was in Pharmaceuticals, called on Dr.  Sands, who was on the board of Mobile Ballet, and Tim told him “My wife is a ballerina” so he arranged for Kimberley to meet with Anne Duke, the Ballet Mistress of the company. 

In 2005, she joined the faculty and has loved it ever since. “I even got to perform with the company. I did the Nutcracker and was the evil Queen in Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.  I was 100% into being evil,“ she laughed. 

Kimberley talked about the challenges she faces as a director of a ballet school and she and I commiserated on this topic, as I know firsthand after 40-plus years in the same boat. “Parents need to understand that there is so much more that can be done with dance education. Whatever your desire, dance can help you get there. Do you want to be a professional dancer, or dance on a collegiate level? Do you want to do Pageants? Do you want exercise, coordination, stress relief, or just fun?  It’s important to have Ballet Technique because it is the foundation of all types of dance, but our school offers jazz, tap, contemporary, hip-hop, and musical theater, too. There are 101 things that dance can bring into your life.” 

Here is a standing ovation for Kimberley and Mobile Ballet Eastern Shore! We wish you continued success in bringing the joy of dance to the Scenic 98 Coastal area. For more information visit  Mobile Ballet offers classes in both Mobile and Daphne for students aged 3 to adult, from beginner to pre-professional. Registration is open now for Summer Camps and Intensives. 

Mar 6, 2024
Artsy Side Of Life

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